Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wounded Giant - Vae Victis

Wounded Giant from Seattle, WA, floored me with their 2013 debut, 'Lightning Medicine'. In between then and now, as their sophomore full-length is upon us, they have released a cassette single, a split and a live cassette, and this diverse output has pushed them forward immensely. Going from fantastic to fucking brilliant is an understatement because 'Vae Vicits' is phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal.

All throughout ‘Vae Victis’ there’s a strong air of Voivod-meets-Killing Joke playing heavy, pulverizing psychedelic doom while exploring the deepest recesses of the mind. Trust me, this wax is a headfuck of the greatest order and you can’t really ask for more. A permeating theme is the sense of impending doom and I guess the title itself brings that out. Vae Vicits is, after all, Latin for “woe to the vanquished/conquered”, meaning the losing side in a battle are completely at the mercy of the winner and should never expect leniency. And that’s exactly what Wounded Giant does. They pull the listener in, pummels and rips you apart and once you beg for mercy, they do it all over again. Oh, the brilliance!

In all the non-mercy, be-all end-all onslaught of their music, Wounded Giant are mesmerizing, hypnotic and captivating. Reeling you in and presenting a false sense of being, they lull you into a psychedelic state while burrowing deep into the psyche. Vast, expansive landscapes are created through thought-provoking lyrics and put side by side with their punishing music, you, the listener, are vae victis.

On top of this a bottom heavy bassline guides this onslaught amongst beauty, all while enormous hooks in the riff department shreds you to pieces. But ‘Vae Victis’ is not all about heaviness either because the band switches elegantly between tempos. Sometimes, as in Emmanentize the Eschaton’, Wounded Giant eschew their Killing Joke-meets-Voivod playing psychedelic doom approach completely. Sampled voices are backed by a prominent keyboard while the bass guitar and drums plays in the background...until everything erupts halfway through. Only to fade out in the end. Trippy and mind blowing, alright, as well as putting the album in a completely different light. Greatness is not a big enough word!

To tie everything together with the beginning, Wounded Giant have taken giant steps forward with ‘Vae Victis’. It feels kind of strange saying this since they been great from the get-go, but that doesn’t hide the fact that the guys has transformed into a raging beast few, if any, can tame. Thank you for unearthing this amazing album to us mere mortals!


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